Last Sunday we went with friends to the Sunday morning worship service at a church which was in a little town that is about a 40 minute drive from our house. In fact, I never even knew that this little Pennsylvania town even existed - but it does and right in the middle of it is a nice sized church that is running around 900 over the winter months.
The lobby of their facility was very inviting and it was obvious from all of the displays and information that they have a lot of really good things going on in their ministry. The auditorium also doubled as a gymnasium which is very common. In fact, both of the last 2 churches I have pastored have been set up in that way. The only major drawback to this facility (and to most facilities that are designed like this) is that the acoustics were not very good which does take away from the quality and energy of the worship. The bad acoustics were complicated even more by a weak mix, but finding a sound volunteer who is good at mixing multiple vocals and instrumentalists isn't easy, especially in a building that is not designed for sound quality.
The worship at this church wasn't bad. However, I do believe that there is a big difference between leading in singing and leading in worship. In my opinion, their worship leader and worship team led more in singing. The choruses they sang were all very good - a little dated but I have no problem with that. But the worship did lack energy. The friend I attended with used the word "droning" to describe the worship leader at times. With all that said, let me once again say that if you struggle to worship in church you can't really blame the singers, instrumentalists, worship leader, style, sound mix, or acoustics. If the message of the songs point your mind and heart to God, you should still be able to worship. So in spite of the technical criticisms I have just given, let me say that all in all I was able to worship and that is the key.
The message was very solid. The pastor was starting a new series on "Absolute Truth in a Whatever World." He did a great job of giving a foundation of the characteristics of truth. He then took Jesus' claims to be God and to be the only way to heaven and applied them to those foundational truths. His message was right on and I personally enjoyed his communication style (though I have to be honest and say that the friend I attended with didn't come to the same conclusion on that). I enjoyed hearing a solid message on the absolute truth of who Jesus is but presented in a way that allowed unbelievers and skeptics to be drawn into the topic.
All in all. this is a really solid and active church -one that I would go back to again.